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Wallpaper vs Paint: Weighing the Pros and Cons

by | Mar 18, 2024 | Interior Design, Interior Painting

If you are considering having wallpaper installed in your home instead of painting the walls, we have a few ideas to consider before you make that call.  Installing wallpaper is not an easy undertaking unless you have experience with it.  You can hire a professional to install wallpaper for you but they can be very expensive as there are not a lot of these companies around.  Painting is always an easier undertaking for the homeowner to do and less expensive to find a contractor to do the work also.  

Wallpaper vs Paint: A Comprehensive Comparison

Wallpaper can look amazing when done right and can bring a room to life.  Many homeowners are doing wallpaper in smaller rooms like powder rooms and bathrooms these days.  In the 1970s and 1980s, it was really popular to install wallpaper in larger rooms or the entire home.  I think most people grown up in this era had wallpaper in their homes.  

It was super popular to install wallpaper 40-50 years ago and likely done by the homeowners in many cases.  In the 1990’s almost everyone was trying to pay to get wallpaper removed as it looked old and outdated.   

When you factor in having wallpaper installed you have to understand all the costs involved in it.  You will likely pay a lot for good quality wallpaper these days.  It can be much more expensive than good quality paint and that is just for the materials.  You also should prime your walls prior to installing wallpaper for the best results which will cost extra money.  You also have to know how to install it or pay a professional to do the work for you which can be very expensive.

If you decide to install the wallpaper, here are some other expenses that you could end up paying in the future.  Wallpaper is not for everyone so if you decide to sell your home one day, you may decide it needs to be removed.  Some wallpaper can be extremely difficult to remove depending on the types of adhesive that was used to install it.  Now you need to decide if you want to remove it yourself or hire a contractor to do this for you.  

At Absolute Painting we are constantly removing wallpaper from decades ago so the walls can get painted.  We charge by the hour to remove wallpaper as we have no idea how hard it will be to remove.  Once it is removed you may have drywall repairs to do as the wallpaper and tools can do a lot of damage when it comes down.  This may cause you to pay for a drywall contractor to fix the damage.  They may even need to add new texture to the walls.  Walls that had wallpaper should always get primed to seal in the old glue residue and the texture if it is new.  Now that you have done all of this you can apply paint again to the walls.  This entire process can take many days to complete. 

If your walls are painted and you choose to repaint them the cost will be much less.  In most cases we can come in and mask off the areas, do minor drywall repairs, and apply two coats of paint in as little as one day.  You can spend as much as 4-6 times more money installing and removing wallpaper versus just painting a room.      

Assessing the Long-Term Value of Paint vs Wallpaper

Paint is just so much easier to change with the times and trends that are going on especially if you decide to sell your home.  Wallpaper is so much more personal than paint as it is very specific to someone’s personal taste.  Paint can be fun and personal as well but easily changed quickly and inexpensively to adapt to the times.

We work with a lot of realtors who are getting ready to put homes on the market.  They almost always suggest getting rid of wallpaper, especially older wallpaper.  Keep this in mind if you decide on wallpaper as it can be expensive to remove when you are ready to sell your home.   

Comparing Wallpaper vs Paint Cost Effectiveness

When comparing the long-term costs of paint versus wallpaper it is not even close.  Yes, you can put wallpaper up and if done right it can last for decades.  If you paint a room you will likely need to repaint it eventually but the price is so much lower.  Even if you choose wild paint colors that you will get tired of eventually, you can prime and paint over them in a matter of a day in most cases.

The Art of Professional Interior Painting

Having your home painted by a professional can add value and charm to your home.  Painters often offer color help as well so you can make sure you are improving the look and not hurting it.  On the other hand, we see many homeowners do their own interior painting and it actually looks worse than when they started.  Using the right tools and paint products can make a huge difference that will help your home’s value.    

Need Help With Interior Painting? We’re Here to Help! 

In our opinion, we really prefer paint for long-term value and cost-effectiveness for homeowners.  Yes, wallpaper can look great and fun but just know you are not just paying to have it installed.  You may end up needing to remove it in the future and it can be more money and time than most people expect.  

If you’re in the Portland metro area, please reach out to Absolute Painting for any questions regarding professional interior painting or wallpaper removal – we are happy to help! Feel free to visit our interior painting page or call us at (503)330-4928 so we can help you achieve your home decor goals.

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